Stanley Black & Decker’s East Longmeadow, Massachusetts facility specializes in manufacturing the strongest, fastest and most durable band saw, jigsaw and hacksaw blades on the market.
QuickLabel traveled to their facility to see how they use their Kiaro! K-100 label printers to ensure their labels reflect the quality of their product as well as advance their production line.
Watch our video to see how one of the country’s leading tool brands benefits from printing labels in-house and on-demand.
Kiaro! K-100: The Ideal Hardware Labeling Solution
“From what we were getting when we printed our previous labels to what we’re printing now – I was just blown away.”
– Sean Wylie, Team Leader, Paint/Print/Pack Department
Stanley Black & Decker produces a wide variety of industrial tools, fasteners and security products for well-known brands such as DeWalt, Craftsman, Lenox, and more.
Within their East Longmeadow, MA facility, Stanley Black & Decker creates professional hardware labels using their three Kiaro! K-100 label printers, which include specific text, barcodes, color codes and photo images. These labels are applied directly onto saw blades and other product carton labels sold to businesses such as Home Depot, Lowe’s and ACE Hardware.
For these labels to be accepted and placed in-stores, they are required to meet stringent retail regulations. An easy, in-house labeling solution, QuickLabel allows Stanley Black & Decker to produce not only compliant, but professional hardware labels that stand out on the shelves.
Sean Wylie, Team Leader, Paint/Print/Pack Department, states, “I believe product packaging is very important here. We have blades that are for metal cutting, wood cutting, blades that cut different thicknesses of metal – all of that needs to be represented on our labels. Anything we put our product in, we want it to stand out.”
SAP Software Integration
Stanley Black & Decker uses a global SAP software system to manage data across multiple product lines and business departments.
The Kiaro! K-100 label printers were able to seamlessly integrate with their SAP system through a custom developed manufacturing floor application, allowing product images, branding and other product data to be accurately printed on all their product labels.
This allowed them to easily update labels as needed, in the quantity they needed, without hassle.
Working with the Kiaro! K-100’s as an IT developer for their SAP system, Anatoli Vishnyakov, states, “Now, we don’t have to keep a pre-printed stock of labels, so we print on-demand as many labels as we need at that specific time.”
Wylie adds, “My favorite trait of the Kiaro! is the ease-of-use. It’s pretty simple – when I need it, I can print it.”
The Benefits of Printing Professional Hardware Labels In-House
By integrating QuickLabel Kiaro! K-100 label printers into their business, Stanley Black & Decker saw an increase in time, flexibility, and speed of production, as well as higher durability and quality of their labels.
About Stanley Black & Decker
Stanley Black & Decker is a leading tool brand company, producing a wide variety of industrial tools, fasteners and security products for well-known brands such as DeWalt, Stanley, Craftsman, Lenox, etc. Their East Longmeadow, Massachusetts facility specializes in manufacturing the strongest, fastest and most durable band saw, jigsaw and hacksaw blades on the market. More information about Stanley Black & Decker can be found at www.stanleyblackanddecker.com.
Many companies outsource their product labels to save on costs and maintain production efficiency. But when you break it down, is outsourcing really the most efficient route? Depending on your business size and needs, it could be more beneficial printing prepared food labels in-house.
Here are our top four reasons why taking label production in-house can be the better option:
1. Outsourced Printing Comes at a Price
While using another facility to produce your prepared food labels might seem like a giant weight off your shoulders, it may not necessarily be the case.
Outsourcing can end up severely delaying your labeling process, costing your business valuable time and money.
For example, if an outsourced label shipment becomes delayed, so will the orders your company was scheduled to have in stock and on the shelves. These delays will happen, as do errors.
Misprints can cause setbacks and affect the use by/sell by dates on your products. This is especially true for made to order businesses and prepared foods.
The best way to avoid these dilemmas is investing in a small, short-run digital label printer to easily bring production in-house.
On implementing short-run digital label printers in-house, Impression Technology Europe reveals, “Not only is the initial investment much more affordable but the cost per print is extremely low. After doing the math, most clients will find it will be much more cost effective than outsourcing and based on the output.”
Our main alternative to outsourcing, investing in an in-house digital label printer will not only save you time, but also reduce cost-per-label.
2. NOT ALL ENVIRONMENTS ARE CREATED EQUAL
Printing prepared food labels in-house has its benefits when varying environmental requirements come into play.
Just because some prepared foods need to be frozen, doesn’t mean the quality and appearance of your packaging should suffer. It’s important for your store’s frozen foods to remain cohesive with the rest of your prepared food line. After all, it is your brand.
However, using the wrong label for the products environment can lead to wrinkles due to condensation, fading due to exposure or loss of adhesion and labels falling off.
If your business is using regular pre-printed labels, chances are, the labels won’t hold up in your storage environment.
Ultimately, finding the correct label material is just as important to your printed results as your design. QuickLabel has developed special materials that are capable of absorbing the inks so that printed labels do not smear and reproduce the most accurate colors possible.
The ability to maintain complete control over your label materials and printing process will allow your business to have a streamlined, efficient process with branded labels that look the part.
One example of easy in-house printing solution is QuickLabel’s flagship Kiaro!, Kiaro! D or wide format QL-800 inkjet label printers. These printers are known for printing frozen food labels that are extremely durable and still generate high-quality 1200 – 1600 dpi imagery.
With the right in-house printer, you’ll have professional frozen food or beverage labels printed instantly and can be applied to products that are already frozen, or before they go into the freezer.
3. It’s Not Easy to Keep Up with FDA Regulations & Demands
Keeping up with the FDA’s changing regulations and formats can greatly affect your product labels. If standards are not met, your entire product line could suffer from massive recalls.
This intimidating process includes font restrictions, mandatory statements, allergen alerts and stringent calculations for daily values.
As a food manufacturer or grocer, you want to spend your energy on your recipes, production, branding and sales – not on interpreting FDA labeling mandates.
While it is absolutely necessary to adhere to FDA regulations to avoid recalls and present your customer with the quality and transparency they deserve, you can make it easier on your business.
This is where an in-house label printer truly shines. For every change in date, rule, format, etc., you have the ability to immediately customize your labels on the spot.
Printing prepared food labels in-house gives you the ability to print the exact number of labels you need for what’s in-stock, on-demand. Meaning no more wasted labels, no more overstock and no more falling short.
This gives you more flexibility in your printing process, as well as introducing the option for seasonal or promotional packaging.
4. Things Are Better When You’re in Control
Your labels are the face of your brand, so you always want to maintain professionalism and put your best foot forward.
If you want to be in control of your business and remove exterior dilemmas, it may be time to consider printing prepared food labels in-house.
If you’re interested in high-quality, short-run label printing in-house, feel free to view our line of complete labeling solutions, including software, media and a wide range of digital label printers from monochrome barcode printers to photographic inkjet color labeling systems and presses.
Or, if you’d like to speak with one of our field sales engineers or media specialists, feel free to contact us for more information! They would be happy to work with you to find the right solution for your application.
PACK EXPO Las Vegas: Enhancing Your Printing Solutions
For those of you who could not attend, it’s time to for a PACK EXPO 2017 recap! If you weren’t able to see us at our booth, this year’s PACK EXPO Las Vegas was one of the most attended, most successful shows for QuickLabel & TrojanLabel.
Expanding Our Printing Solutions
Since our business unit expanded to include TrojanLabel™, a growing force in the digital label press, overprinting and specialty printers industry (February 2017), we had yet to host a trade show together in the USA –making this year’s PACK EXPO Las Vegas all the more exciting.
A fantastic complement to our tabletop label printers, TrojanLabel products include the T3-OP (Trojan3), a digital professional packaging and converting overprinting system and the T2 (Trojan2), a sophisticated digital label mini press and more exclusive printers released at the show.
The acquisition of TrojanLabel helped to amplify the strength and capabilities of both brands as known leaders in the industry of tabletop label printers for in-house custom color labels and professional label presses and specialty printers.
Being our first show together in the USA, we were ecstatic to share our experience at PACK EXPO together as well as see how well it was recognized by the current and new customers that visited our booth!
Exclusive PACK EXPO Product Releases
Perhaps the most eventful portion of PACK EXPO 2017 was the unveiling of our latest QuickLabel and TrojanLabel label printer and presses.
As a show exclusive, booth visitors were able to view live demonstrations and learn more about the benefits of our four new innovative solutions:
- QL-30 and QL-60
- Trojan™ T2-C
- Trojan™ T4
QL-30 & QL-60
Both compact, monochrome high-speed thermal transfer printers the QL-30 and QL-60 are perfect for barcoding and other one-color labeling applications. Innovative upgrades include a full-color touchscreen interface, complete with video and Wi-Fi. Ideal applications for the QL-30 and QL-60 are hazardous substance labeling, including cardboard boxes, pallets and other exposed surfaces.
With the full capacity of a larger press, the T2-C is a compact label press that easily fits into any size print department with a footprint of less than 4 square feet. For ideal print quality and registration, the T2-C is optimized with automatic tension control, built-in web guide and intuitive TrojanControl touch panel interface. The T2-C is designed for 24/7 production and ideal for brand owners, print shops and professional label converters.
While not at the show, the Trojan T4 was simultaneously released and displayed at Labelexpo Europe.
An all-in-one digital label production and finishing press, the Trojan T4 extends the TrojanLabel product line into the high-production environment for professional label converting. For advanced label production and finished rolls of superior quality, the T4’s advanced digital inkjet press prints, laminates, die cuts and slits brilliant full-bleed color labels up to 1600 x 1600 dpi resolution at speeds up to 60 feet/18 meters per minute. A compact all-in-one label production solution, the T4 is fast, reliable and easy to use, while taking up less than 7-1/2 feet of work space.
We want to thank everyone again for coming out! Thank you for the experience, PACK EXPO. See you next year!
QuickLabel & TrojanLabel: The Complete Packaging and Labeling Solution
Since introducing the first color label printer in 1994, our goal has been to provide industry best on-demand label printers as a complete packaging and labeling solution.
From the Sundance in 1994, a four color thermal color digital transfer printer to the original Kiaro! in 2010 to the new QL-240 in 2017, we have always striven to provide innovative, high-quality printing technologies that make the lives of customers easier.
Continuing to push the progressive envelope, QuickLabel’s parent company, AstroNova®, recently acquired a new division that specializes in larger, more versatile printing systems.
In February 2017, our business unit expanded to include TrojanLabel™, a growing force in the digital label press, overprinting and specialty printers industry.
Who is TrojanLabel?
Beginning in Denmark in 2012, TrojanLabel has globally revolutionized color printing technology with the production of their digital color label presses and specialty printer systems for a broad range of end markets.
A fantastic complement to our tabletop label printers, TrojanLabel products include the T3-OP (Trojan3), a digital professional packaging and converting overprinting system and the T2 (Trojan2), a sophisticated digital label mini press.
To learn more about TrojanLabel, feel free to visit the TrojanLabel website.
What Does This Acquisition Mean for QuickLabel?
To put it simply, the Product Identification unit of AstroNova will include QuickLabel and TrojanLabel. This means, in addition to specializing in tabletop labeling systems, AstroNova Product Identification will also support TrojanLabel’s specialty overprinting and digital press systems.
While QuickLabel and TrojanLabel remain separate divisions, both will fall under the same business unit of the AstroNova parent company.
How Does This Benefit You?
Ultimately, the acquisition of TrojanLabel amplifies the strength and capabilities of both brands, known leaders in their industry.
Gregory A. Woods, AstroNova’s President and Chief Executive Officer, shares, “QuickLabel and TrojanLabel provide customers with a broad portfolio of products spanning tabletop printers and light-production label printers as well as advanced specialty printing systems.”
As a whole, we are now able to provide products, services and supplies that improve the consumers’ ability to track and market their products in small to large scale businesses, spanning all industries.
With additional options to match your specific needs, we can now deliver a wider range of application specific packaging and labeling solutions — furthering our goal to provide the complete packaging and labeling solution.
Where Can You See the New TrojanLabel Products?
Held in Las Vegas, Nevada, this will be an exclusive event for all PACK EXPO attendees.
While we expect to host many trade shows together down the line, this is your chance to get ahead of your competition.
We are pleased to officially be able to provide the best solutions from tabletop label printers to specialty and digital printing presses for consumers worldwide.
We’re looking forward to seeing all those who plan on attending #PACKEXPO2017 for our exclusive first show together!
But while trying to catch the consumer’s eye, there are still regulations products must follow. So how can you make your custom cosmetic labels both attractive and effective?
First Things First: Product Requirements
Regardless of your product line, you need to be aware of the industry requirements.
According to the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, it is prohibited to market cosmetics that are adulterated or misbranded as well as while in interstate commerce.
FDA regulations are required for any product, except soap, intended to be applied to the human body for cleansing, beautifying, promoting attractiveness or altering appearance.
A cosmetics label is considered misbranded if:
- labeling is false or misleading
- label does not state the name and address of the manufacturer, packer, or distributor or the net quantity of contents
- the required information is not stated prominently, with conspicuousness and in terms that it is read and understood by consumers under customary conditions of purchase and use the container or its fill is misleading
Read the full list of FDA cosmetics labeling standards here.
Make Compliance Easier
Ensure products meet all FDA regulations and easily maintain labels with an in-house label printer – this includes overseas, certifying compliance within each country.
Printing in-house also offers a much more affordable option compared to outsourced printing.
By printing in your facility, you have the ability to produce large or short runs of labels as needed with expiration dates, ingredients lists, allergen warnings, barcodes, organic and natural certifications.
Check out some of our favorite commercial color label printer options here!
Make Sure Your Products Have What They Need
In addition to FDA requirements, environmental exposure can require a higher need for durability.
If you offer lotion, body wash or facial cleansers, you may want to consider a printer that applies water-resistant labels. This will help protect your labels fading or peeling.
Utilizing these resistant labels will bring your products to another level of professionalism. By adhering to both FDA standards and product needs, your cosmetics will perform effectively.
Watch how CJ’s Unique Boutique uses their durable QuickLabel printer to label all of their lotions and creams:
Stand Out On The Shelves!
Looks matter in this industry.
Makers of cosmetics and personal care products don’t just need a lot of labels – they need a lot of different labels. One body lotion alone can be available in dozens of different scents, array of bottles, tubs and more.
Your product packaging is what makes you stand out from the competition. What catches eyes on the shelves can be the difference between the purchase of your brand over a competitors.
If you’re looking for a cost-effective way to enhance your cosmetics label designs, an in-house label printer is the best solution.
Not only will printing cosmetics labels in-house save money, but it is perfect for short-runs of seasonal products, new scents, sizes and formulations – especially when it comes to the design process.
Using your own label printer will allow you to control your label from start to finish – making sure it showcases your product as envisioned.
Make Your Custom Cosmetics Labels Attractive and Effective With The Kiaro!
“It’s a cost effective time saving printer. It creates excellent quality labels for our packaging, and I couldn’t be happier.”
– Ryan Flynt, CJ’s Unique Boutique
By acknowledging your products packaging design, durability of labels and FDA standards, custom cosmetics labels are able to function effectively while attracting consumers to your products.
If you’re interested in learning more about creating eye-catching labels in your own facility, feel free to check out our website!
Not all labels are easy to get approved. If you handle sanitation or chemical supplies, you know there are specific marks and content that must appear on the product labels.
In this post, you will gain insight into chemical and GHS label markings and how to label them. In addition, we will cover how utilizing an on-demand color label printer can provide the best labeling solution for your products.
What Are GHS and Chemical Regulations?
Janitorial and sanitation products are among the chemicals that require color-coded chemical hazard identification labels in compliance with GHS Labeling regulations.
GHS stands for Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals, which are usually represented as red and black pictograms.
Also known as graphic symbols, pictograms are used to communicate specific information about the hazards of a chemical. The GHS regulation standards use a total of nine pictograms.
The purpose of these symbols are to provide workers with better information on the safe handling and use of hazardous chemicals, thereby allowing them (or anyone handling the product) to avoid injuries and illnesses related to exposures to hazardous chemicals.
To read more on each GHS classification symbol, with a more in-depth review of each, please view our white paper GHS Chemical Labeling Compliance: Requirements & Solutions.
What to Include on Chemical Cleaning Supply Labels
The Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) states, “chemical manufacturers, importers, or distributors must ensure that each container of hazardous chemicals is labeled, tagged or marked with the following information: product identifier; signal word; hazard statement(s); precautionary 1 2 statement(s); and pictogram(s); and name, address and telephone number of the chemical manufacturer, importer, or other responsible party.”
Make Compliance Easier by Printing Compliant Labels In-House
Now that you have a better understanding of the labeling requirements, what’s the best way to create your labels?
If you are in the industry, you already know most GHS label printers offer the ability to print GHS compliant labels in just two colors, red and black.
An ideal durable label printer, QuickLabel’s Kiaro! D tabletop label printer has the ability to instantly print full color GHS labels in 1200 dpi resolution.
QuickLabel’s “D” printers produce durable, pigment based labels able to withstand water, dirt, exposure, abrasion and hazardous chemicals while maintaining color-fastness.
With a Kiaro! D, you can print your entire chemical label in seconds, including your logo and primary display panel graphics and the red and black GHS pictograms, text, barcode and serializations.
See What the Extra-Durable, GHS Compliant Kiaro! D is Capable of:
Printing in full color, 1200 dpi allows your compliant GHS labels to send two messages:
1. A responsible manufacturer has packaged the product safely.
2. The company logo and branding stands out from other competitors.
A QuickLabel printer provides valuable competitive advantages by maintaining GHS compliance and showing off signature brands.
Stand Out on the Shelves
While other companies are stuck with identical packaging, you have the option to stand out with custom messaging. Your custom label and verbiage will ensure customers and clients know exactly who manufactures their chemicals.
To get the perfect package, we recommend using labeling software in addition to an in-house label printer. Labeling software allows you to link your database of chemical descriptions with a label printer for accuracy.
With a robust color label printer such as the Kiaro! D and a fully-featured GHS labeling software such as NiceLabel, it is easy to become compliant and maintain compliance.
For more information on GHS and chemical labeling, feel free to read our white paper, GHS Chemical Labeling Compliance: Requirements & Solutions.
It’s that time of year again; time to decorate your store windows, run holiday sales and, most importantly, switch up your product labels. Why? Seasonal packaging can help gain customers.
If you print your labels in-house, this isn’t a hard task to complete. But if you don’t print in-house, that is something you may want to reconsider.
Holidays Can Equal More Sales
During the holidays, you could be missing out on major sales revenue without seasonal packaging. Why?
Products that are polished, seasonal and unique have a better chance of being picked up and chosen over a similar product.
Recent studies show that product labels are much more critical in the buyer’s journey than anticipated.
Ben Schubert from Nielsen’s Innovation Practice in Europe was recently involved in a report analyzing the topic stating, “Package design is the dark horse of the marketing world. It receives little attention compared to other marketing disciplines, and its impact tends to be vastly underestimated.”
More often than not, what we think are the little things actually end up being much bigger.
When we see something aesthetically pleasing, it catches our eye. Your product may be exactly what the consumer is looking for, but if not presented the right way, it is easily passed over.
This is especially heightened during the holiday seasons, where our eyes are trained to pick up on certain color patterns and images. Not convinced?
Nielson continues, “Back-to-basics marketing such as how essential it is to stand out at the shelf has become slightly lost due to marketers’ increasing focus on where to advertise in a media-saturated world.
Nearly 60% of product decisions are made at the shelf, and 56% of European consumers say in-store discovery is one of their top information sources for new products, compared to 45% for TV ads.”
Now those are staggering numbers. More than half of consumers’ decisions are made at the shelf? Presuming the setup is that of a regular market, that means more than half of the buyers decisions are based on the label alone.
That’s something to pay attention to.
It is more important than ever to remain ahead of the curve
And utilizing information like this will help push you to the forefront.
Think about it, which product would be more likely purchased on the spot: a branded box of truffles or a holiday packaging edition of similar truffles? The presentation matters. Most would go with the latter.
This year, while speaking on a similar topic, Gillian Christie, founder & CEO of adVentures Academy reveals that, “Design message on packaging can be the make or break point with your target audience.”
And we couldn’t agree more.
Your seasonal packaging and even personalized packaging can help you gain customers, giving you an edge on your competition and a greater chance for consumers to try your products.
Christie continues, “Understanding consumer behavior and identifying the exact buying motivators, hot buttons and the specific ‘conversion factor’ for that target audience is the differentiating factor between a good design and a great design.”
Now that the labels and packaging have been identified as such a large conversion factor (60%), the opportunity to greatly increase your consumer base is within your grasp.
So how do you use this to your advantage?
Take control over your production line and print your labels in-house.
Managing your labeling process can reap a plethora of benefits in addition to catching the customers’ eye. With less room for errors, no wait time or shipping, and reduced waste, your in-house label printer or packaging system would be earning its keep by saving and earning you money.
What are you waiting for?
It’s the holiday season! Get inspired! Feel the magic! And make your packaging great.
Have you heard you can simplify your manufacturing process with Kanban cards? If you’re in the manufacturing industry, you should.
Kanban cards originated from the Japanese term “Kanban” meaning “visual sign” or “signal.” The physical cards became widely used during the 1940’s in Toyota’s manufacturing process to improve work flow and efficiency.
The simplicity of the cards allow for quick comprehension, ease of use and accurate control of inventory in the workplace.
Working in the manufacturing industry, you know how beneficial the Kanban cards are.
They help your company keep track of the parts you have, the parts (and therefore orders) you need, the deliveries you have scheduled or should schedule, and the demand of your products internally and externally.
But what makes the Kiaro! the ideal color label printer for Kanban cards? A lot of things.
The Kiaro! appreciates the need for high quality.
With the Kiaro!, you are not limited to having only a barcode or color code — you have the ability to include photo-quality pictures of the product or part along with a full product description on the card as well.
This makes it easier to verify a complete visual of what it is you need.
What’s more, you can print your cards in full color and 1200 dpi resolution. With that said, you’ll be sure to print with the finest detail and color accuracy.
This is especially useful for not only images, but the color coded cards distributed amongst different product lines.
And what’s more valuable than yours?
The Kiaro! has the ability to print at 8 inches per second. The edges are even perforated, so you can produce your prints as needed and separate them just as easily.
It certainly knows how to maintain productivity. No scissors, no cutting and no measuring needed. You can also check out our label slitter for larger productions.
It’s even easier than you thought. Just grab it and go.
The Kiaro! is never wasteful.
A forecast is usually one of two things: lucky or wrong.
Instead of having to predict how many cards to order, the Kiaro! gives you the ability to print your Kanban cards on demand.
Now, you’ll always meet your company’s needs. No more wasted supplies and no more storage rooms full of extras. You can print in batches of one and cut to custom lengths immediately with the optional Kiaro! tag cutter.
And, if you need to change something, you can reconfigure a process instantly without being burdened by the cost of scrapping pre-printed cards. You have the ability to respond to what’s actually being done and fulfill your precise needs with the highest accuracy.
All in all, these little cards make a big impact – but they can also become a significant pain to stay on top of.
With the Kiaro!, the process of producing Kanban cards remains effortless — and the possibilities endless.
It’s your visual indicator, it’s your reminder and it’s your record keeper.
Make your Kanban cards with the Kiaro! label printer and you’ll have everything your team needs to know on that little card.
The Kiaro! delivers Kanban cards efficiently, precisely and in a manner that’s most beneficial to you and your company’s continuous improvement initiatives.
Any Questions on How We Can Help Simplify Your Manufacturing Process with Kanban Cards?
To learn more about how the Kiaro! color label printer can save you time, money, and provide you with highly accurate color labels, click here.
Or contact us today by giving us a call, sending us an email or deciding to schedule your own Kiaro! demonstration!
Have you ever wondered what makes your label work? How shoppers notice your label, and which elements they notice first? At this year’s Pack Expo in Las Vegas, Clemson University students set up a Consumer Experience Eye Tracking Lab that will help us understand the science behind how labels and packaging design influence consumer purchases. Here’s what they’ve learned so far.
First, Clemson Students “CU Shop”
Let’s say you’re doing your weekly shopping and you have your shopping list with you ready to pick out items at the store. The first thing on your list is Strawberry PopTarts. When you get to the aisle, what is it that draws you to the box of Strawberry PopTarts? What do you look for first on the label? The word strawberry? An image of a strawberry?
In order to find out, Clemson University packaging students set up what they called the “CU Shop” at the Pack Expo trade show in Las Vegas last week. Their simulated shop was comprised of store aisles and shelves stocked with everyday items we all purchase during our shopping experiences. It gave visitors the feeling of being in an actual grocery store.
What the Packaging Students Are Looking For…
Assistant Professor R. Andrew Hurley explained that the research being conducted during this experiment “unveils consumer decision-making and investigation at the subconscious level.” Hurley and his team of packaging students are looking to make conclusions on trends in packaging design as well as elements that they say “impact the perceived quality of products.”
Early Findings About Private Label vs. National Brands
One of the packaging researchers I spoke with at Pack Expo found that during the interview process prior to the experiment, consumers would be specific about the items they would choose in a store setting versus ones they wouldn’t choose. To the researchers’ surprise, consumers would prefer one thing but once they were involved in the experiment, they wouldn’t choose it. This held true especially with private labels vs national brand labels. Though these are just anecdotal observations, the final findings will be published after the experiment is complete.
Eye-Tracking: The Science Behind Packaging
Chip Tonkin, the Director of the Sonoco Institute at Clemson University, explained in an interview that “Eye-tracking is the science behind the design of retail packaging.” He continued, “The research we are doing here is groundbreaking because it takes place in real time in a real shopping environment. Most eye-tracking research is done in a virtual world looking at a large screen.”
The Clemson packaging students were able to make their experiment more realistic than past studies. The products they placed the on the shelves of the “CU Shop” each have a sensor. These sensors work in coordination with a pair of glasses that track, record, and measure eye movements such as “fixations” and “saccades.” A fixation is when your pupil pinpoints an area on a display, and a saccade is very fast eye movement that help transition your gaze between fixations. The glasses can track eye movement (fixations and saccades) at 30 frames per second.
At the CU Shop, the packaging students provide visitors like me with a shopping list of items to find on the shelves. Some items on the list are specific brands whereas others are product categories. One item is Strawberry PopTarts – a specific brand. Another is just “coffee” – a product category.
I went through the store with my list and began looking around, the list included the following items:
- Strawberry Pop Tarts
- Grilling fork
- Original Scent Liquid Laundry Detergent
- 2 liter soda
- Cookie cereal
- Olive oil
Adding in a specific detail like the word strawberry makes it interesting to see what the consumer searches for on a package or label to determine whether the item is the one they are looking for. As you do your shopping the results from your glasses are then shown on a computer that tracks which areas of the packaging attracted the consumer’s attention.
After the shopping experience, participants are given a heat map printed off the computer that shows the tracking of their eye movements. This heat map dissects what the consumer was looking at during the experiment.
When I looked at my heat map, I was surprised to see how much detail I find myself looking for. In terms of looking for “Original Scent Liquid Laundry Detergent” you can see that my eyes automatically looked for a few things:
- The shelf with bottles (liquid typically comes in bottles)
- The center of the label for details such as the words “original scent” or “liquid”
It really shows how programmed we have become to look for certain things, how we rely on packaging to help give us the answers before finding out for ourselves by touching the product.
We will keep you posted on Clemson University’s findings once research is published. Until then we will most definitely be waiting on the edge of our seats!
What do you think about this packaging science experiment being conducted by Clemson University?
Are you interested to see what their results are? Do you think they will be surprising?
Have you noticed the cool-looking black and white square-shaped barcodes appearing more and more often on food and beverage labels, on signs, in magazines, and so on? QR Codes are growing in popularity – here’s how you can print your own QR Code label.
First, a little background: What are QR Codes?
“QR Codes,” short for Quick Response Codes, are small, square, two-dimensional barcodes. In comparison to traditional barcodes, the 2D QR Codes allow larger amounts of data to be encoded and scanned faster. QR codes were originally created to be read by barcode scanners. Today, marketers are embracing smartphone apps which can scan QR Codes, read hyperlinks, and bring the user directly to a web location where web pages, videos, and other rich online content can be viewed. QR codes allow marketers to store and share large amounts of information, including coupons, contact information, physical addresses, and URLs, all of which open up in the web browser of a mobile phone.
Eric Anderson, QuickLabel Upper Midwest District Manager, has seen a growth in the use of QR codes on his customer’s product labels. “I like to call labels with QR codes or Microsoft Tags ‘perpetual interactive marketing billboards’ that can be applied to most any product!” said Anderson.
Here’s How You Can Begin Using QR Codes on Your Own Product Labels:
Step #1: Go to an online QR Code generator such as Kaywa
Step #2: Follow the screen prompts to enter a text message or hyperlink in the content box (this is the information that will be encoded in the QR Code)
Step #3: Generate the QR Code on screen
Step #4: Download and Save the QR Code as an image to your computer
Step #5: Open Custom QuickLabel software and add the QR Code to your label format as a graphic image, or add the image to your label design in Adobe® Photoshop,® Adobe Illustrator,® or in any other software you use to design and print labels
Step #6: Print your label as usual, using any label printer. May I recommend the QuickLabel Kiaro!, Pronto!, or QLS-4100 Xe?
How You Can Benefit by Printing a QR Code on Your Label
QuickLabel’s Eric Anderson shared a few of his ideas with us:
- Private Label Wine: Imagine having private labeled wine bottle for a wedding with a QR Code on it. That code could launch a YouTube video of the couple thanking the guests for attending – or perhaps launch a slide show that guests could converse about. This would be a value added benefit that could be provided by wine bottlers.
- Food Companies: Print a label with a QR Code that can be scanned for a “Recipe of the Month” by customers. The QR code could point to a web page that could be updated with new recipes as often as one would like, making that same container, sitting on the shelf, a perpetual marketing tool.
- Industrial Manufacturers: Product training videos could be launched right from the product label – assuring proper usage and reducing training costs.
- Cosmetics Companies: Customer testimonial videos showing the product being used could help sell a product on the spot while the customer is at the point of purchase in the store.
A Brief History of QR Codes
QR codes originated in Japan in 1994 thanks to Denso Wave, a manufacturer of barcodes and 2D code scanners. Toyota was one of the first companies to use QR codes to track vehicle parts in vehicle manufacturing. Today, QR codes are still used in manufacturing, but now they are also being used on product packaging because they are such an easy and convenient means of bringing consumers to an online site.
The spread of mobile phone technology has propelled the use of QR codes since smartphones are equipped to scan QR codes through their cameras and phone applications. “I do not believe QR Codes have hit critical mass yet … but with the ubiquitous use of smart phones by a growing segment of the population, it will surely do so soon,” said Anderson.
Looking for QR Code Scanning Apps for your Smartphone?
Each smartphone has its own set of QR scanner apps to go along with it.
Android Phone QR Scanners:
Mashable so kindly put together 7 free QR Code Reader Apps for Android. The 7 apps include:
- Barcode Generator/Reader
- ScanLife Barcode Reader
- QuickMark QR Code Reader
- I-nigma Barcode Scanner
- QR Droid
- Barcode Scanner
- mobiScan QR
Apple iPhone QR Scanners:
- NeoReader (Free)
- Barcode (Free)
- ScanLife (Free)
Blackberry Phone QR Scanners:
BlackBerry has what is called BlackBerry App World, where BlackBerry users can go download and buy applications for their phones. BlackBerry offers both free and priced applications. Some of the QR readers include:
- QR Code Scanner Pro (Free)
- QR Code Now
- QR Scanner
How and Where QR Codes Are Currently Used
Food Packaging: QR codes are being used on food labels and food packaging. Hyperlinks within these codes can lead consumers to recipes, nutritional facts, discount codes, etc. Recently, Kellogg launched the “It’s Morning Somewhere” marketing campaign for its Crunch Nut cereal that includes an on-package QR code that its consumers can scan with their mobile phones while eating their breakfast! When the QR code is scanned, consumers are brought to a mobile site where the slogan “It’s Morning Somewhere” appears and one of 13 promotional videos is played depending on the time of day.
In comparison to the older SMS mobile marketing technology, the “It’s Morning Somewhere” QR Code campaign has been a smashing success. Thus far, there have been 40,000 Crunchy Nut QR scans, 38,000 videos played, and 50,000 page views – very impressive when company to just 6,000 SMS texts.
Restaurant Uses of QR Codes: The Colonial House Restaurant and Bar in Rapid City, SD uses QR codes on its menus and table tents. Patrons can scan the codes to see daily specials, promotions, and beer and drink offerings and can even be linked to the restaurants social media pages. Colonial House also advertises using QR codes on advertisements at local rest-stops, perfect for attracting travelers in the area looking for a place to eat.
Crime Fighting Uses of QR Codes: Vancouver police recently used QR code technology to generate tips on a wanted assaulter. Police distributed over 300 posters with QR codes in bathroom stalls around the city. When the QR code is scanned by patrons using their smartphones, they are brought to information about the wanted person. The information that is presented includes composite sketches of the attacker and detailed descriptions of their car.
Using QR Codes to Make a Purchase: Starbucks recently introduced a secure QR code payment system for iPhone, BlackBerry and Android phones that allows customers to pay for their purchases using their phones. This move put Starbucks on the map as the only large-scale coffee company with mobile payment capabilities. Just nine weeks after its launch in 2011, Starbucks processed more than 3 million mobile payments.
Selling Real Estate with QR Codes: Realtors are even using QR codes to sell homes. In Rapid City, South Dakota homes that are on the market have QR Codes displayed in a window. Interested home buyers can scan the code with their mobile phone and they will be taken to a unique page made specifically for that home. The website contains information such as photos, floor plans, neighborhood information and so on. Realtors found that the QR codes allow them to provide more information than a typical listing or flyer in the local paper.